Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Plain English Project"

Well, Google/Blogger has updated its available designs, so I changed the look for no reason. This isn't a critical blog meant for public use.

A while ago I was talking about the idea of streamlining the langugage of the library web pages. I suppose it's about time I got on with that. To reiterate, the idea is to, basically, make papes easier to read by making them less wordy and more clear. How do you know something is too wordy and unclear? How do you fix it? Lynell S. Buckley's (a librarian at Tech) LLA 2010 presentation slides provide an excellent explanation, if you've never seen it:

I don't think this warrants a meeting, but we do need to decide who's willing to do which pages. Here is the old list of who was assigned what page (yes, the blog looks different now): These need to be re-assigned too, of course. If you don't want to do a page, perhaps someone else will. I will take some of Karen C.'s, and since I have access to the FTP for the Gov Docs domain,, I will work on all of that.

As an example, I have already done the "for students" page (there were some things I needed to update).

Here is a visual comparison:
The difference isn't huge because I wrote it with students in mind to start with, but there is a difference. Small changes such as this one add up:

Before: "Speaking of that... we at the Library have produced a number of
presentations for classes and the web that explain not only the library
but particular subjects."
After: "The Library has a number of presentations for classes and the web."
Why: Redundant. We would've have bothered to make these if they didn't explain anything useful, so I don't need to say that again. "Produced"? Gosh.

There is no rubric for this. Just make the pages smaller. You can submit to the blog like before, or email a file to me. Don't worry too much about HTML and things like that; Since most of the program you-all use will affect the HTML markup, I will need to re-do the markup on all of them regardless. If you know how to edit HTML with a text editor, you can use that but don't use one that permanently wraps the text just because it wants to (SeaMonkey does).

If you add a new link to the page that isn't already on the page, please tell me specifically, because I'm probably going to convert everything to plain text before I put it back and use the previous text to put the URLs back. If you had a new URL in a hyperlink, I might not notice it.

Is July 30th a reasonable due date for the new copies?

No comments: